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Apr
27
comment To what extent does formatting a disk (securely) remove its data?
"It used to be that recovering 5-6 times overwritten data was kinda tedious, but otherwise absolutely no problem." From what I've read, this is more of an urban legend than fact, with no more support than a single researcher's theoretical claims to support it. Do you have any references to support it ever being "tedious but no problem" to recover data from a single-pass randomized overwrite? This is the best resource I have found supporting the opposite, but I'm happy to be proven otherwise: web.archive.org/web/20121110053501/http://grot.com/wordpress/…
Mar
17
comment Why would a website that resets your password to one of their choice be considered a plain text offender?
Interesting. I know I get impatient waiting 15 seconds for a reset link to show up in my gmail box. I think I'd go nuts waiting for a letter to arrive! lol
Mar
2
comment What is DROWN and how does it work?
Not sure I'm quite ready to talk about network protocol attacks in terms of "late Nth century" yet. ;-)
Feb
17
comment Why can't the FBI copy the contents of an iPhone they are trying to crack?
@Ben: Yes, crypto "done right" still lets you sleep at night even if the bad guys (or FBI in this case) get your hardware. The issue here is that the encryption keys are protected by a 4-digit PIN (basically a "mini-password"), which is easy to brute-force. In order to counter this, Apple wipes the stored encryption keys after some X failed attempts. What law enforcement is requesting is a new firmware which allows infinite attempts. They have also asked for some facility to run through the brute force quickly (rather than paying some FBI intern $15/hr to hammer through all 10k possibilities)
Feb
17
comment Why can't the FBI copy the contents of an iPhone they are trying to crack?
@Ben: Sidenote: I don't think the data itself is wiped, but rather the decryption keys. With strong encryption, wiping the keys alone is effectively the same as wiping all of the data, only much quicker and easier (you don't have to write gigabytes of data - only a few kilobytes)
Feb
4
comment Why are self signed certificates not trusted and is there a way to make them trusted?
@CristianTM: Often when someone "STFW" for an answer to a question, StackExchange is the top result - which is great and speaks highly of StackExchange! I don't think it's a legitimate reason to disqualify a question from being posted here. BadSkillz' answer below it simple, useful, and may drive this very page to the top of everyone's search results on the topic -- AND it took his as long to produce it as it took you to post your comment. :-)
Jan
26
comment Why did customer services say using symbols in a password is insecure?
They're savvy enough to care about SQL injection, but think the solution is to disallow certain characters in users' passwords? I smell a disconnect here, like a security officer somewhere knows just enough to be responsible for--but very careless with--a lot of users' data.
Jan
26
comment Why did customer services say using symbols in a password is insecure?
@iProgram: "To make sure they have better security in the future I did educate them and said that..." Call me cynical, but I doubt your comments were remembered for more than three seconds after the phone call ended. :-)
Sep
26
comment Should I be worried if I accidentally entered my password in a username field?
@Rudy: True, but that observation is only useful for sites I have control over. 😉
Aug
28
comment How does a hacker know how many times a password was hashed?
Not really a direct answer, but ideal security architecture works even when the attacker has full access to all implementation details (including hashing round counts). So the assumption that the attacker knows how many rounds were used is not necessarily because it's common, but rather that it's always good to make WORST CASE assumptions when it comes to security.
Aug
11
comment How do session keys in public key cryptography work?
Yes, anyone in possession of Bob's private key would be able to decrypt the session key. However this isn't really a problem with the system, but rather an indication that Bob is misusing it. It is up to Bob to keep his "private" key private. If Bob goes around leaking his private key, he has no place getting mad that others can decrypt messages meant for him - that's just how it works!
Jul
15
comment How to start writing crypto software
Funny story: I took a crypto class in college. We had to pick a crypto-related final project, so I decided to implement DES. True to character, I procrastinated until the last day. When it was due, I suddenly realized I didn't know how to use bitshift operators in JAVA. Rather than just looking it up (that would take TIME!), I implemented DES using the String class and actual strings of "1" and "0" characters. I parsed the incoming file into bytes, converting them to 8-character strings. When I presented my code to the class nobody called me out. Got an A, which helped cope with the shame.
Jul
6
comment How does malicious software encrypt victims' files?
I didn't mean confusion by you - I think your answer is excellent. :-) I meant confusion by the person who asked the question. It seems like they might be confused, if they're using hashing performance as a metric of encryption performance.
Jul
6
comment How does malicious software encrypt victims' files?
There's some confusion here too, where the OP is conflating encryption with hashing. Even though they share some similar mathematical theory, hashing IS NOT encryption, and the two serve very different purposes. Because of this, many hashing algorithms are slow BY DESIGN (to slow down brute-force attacks), whereas encryption algorithms tend to be streamlined as much as possible without compromising security.
May
13
comment Ensure that a file can only be decrypted after a specific date
@Pun: Okay, that makes sense. I was thinking the author would not give Twitter the key until he was ready for it to be released. Giving it to them ahead of time would indeed involve trust.
May
12
comment Ensure that a file can only be decrypted after a specific date
@AronFoster: I don't think Twitter qualifies as a "trusted authority" in this context. Either the key provided on their service works, or it doesn't. If for some reason they decide to lie about the key, then the message will "decrypt" to gibberish, and everyone knows what they did. (Well, that or the OP lied about providing a legitimate cyphertext.) If Twitter decides to not provide the key at all, than the author can publish via ANY other service. The channel here doesn't matter, since the requirement is not secrecy, but just distributing a key which works.
Apr
3
comment Is SiteKey a valid defense against Phishing?
Excellent analogy with "Simon Says," I'm going to reuse that! I'm a little confused how the successful MITM (stripping off HTTPS) relates to something like SiteKey. Once the attacker is in a successful MITM situation, aren't a whole host of other security measures defeated as well? In other words, if you're assuming a successful MITM anyway, couldn't you say that e.g. strong passwords are not effective? After all, if you have a MITM which has defeated SSL, all passwords will be plaintext to the attacker, right? Great answer though! I'm just trying to understand your point better.
Sep
4
comment Where can I “hide” easter eggs for students learning about Linux security?
@Polynomial: Wow. Yes that's evil. I think that's beyond our current skillset at this point. Awesome though - thanks again!
Sep
4
comment Where can I “hide” easter eggs for students learning about Linux security?
Thanks so much!
Jul
24
comment Does a virus need to be clicked on to function?
Can you elaborate on disabling "Certain javascript"? I've heard of some people disabling js entirely for security purposes, but how do you do so selectively?